Policy

Bill Would Let Federal Workers Commute Via Uber

Congressmen want relief for commuters during Metro shutdowns and delays

Rep. Mark Meadows is one of the lawmakers pushing to allow transit benefits for ride-sharing services. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan pair of House members want to let federal workers apply tax-free transportation benefits to Uber rides.  

The move comes as a response to the difficulties in commuting via the Washington, D.C., area's Metro rail system during the extended closures and single-tracking associated with the "SafeTrack" effort to catch up on long overdue repairs to the transit network.  

Northern Virginia commuters are currently in the middle of weeks of shutdowns on the rail lines that service Reagan National Airport, making commutes to and from Alexandria, Virginia, particularly challenging.  

"The federal government must offer commuters as many options as possible to mitigate these challenges. That includes expanding telework and allowing flexible work schedules, including during off-peak work hours. The ridesharing economy offers a unique and flexible alternative until full Metro service is restored and should be an option for our federal workforce as they maintain a continuity of operations for the federal government," said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, a Democrat whose Northern Virginia district is home to many federal employees and government contractors.  

The bill would allow for transit benefits to flow to ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber.  

Connolly co-sponsored the bill introduced this week with Republican Rep. Mark Meadows as the lead sponsor. The North Carolina Republican is chairman of a House subcommittee on government operations.  

Meadows said in a statement that the delays are having real-life consequences for the federal government.  

"Many of the frequent, random delays on the Metro have caused some federal workers to arrive late, miss meetings, or lose out on valuable work time," Meadows said. "This bill will allow federal workers to expand their commuting options and not require them to depend on a sole, unreliable from of transportation — especially during WMATA's time period of construction."  

Because the effort by Meadows and Connelly would amend federal tax law, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee.  

Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski .

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